How to Antique Clay or Terra Cotta Garden Pots

Terra Cotta pots age into beautiful works of art year after year sitting in your garden. While you can buy nicely aged terra cotta pots, they can be very pricey. Simple inexpensive terra cotta pots can easily be aged and antiqued for very little money. Best of all these aging and antiquing techniques do not take a lot of time or money. You can easily complete e any of these antiquing techniques for less than $10. Your terra cotta pots will look more expensive and a lot older after these easy DIY projects.

Wood Stain/ Gel Stain

Wood stain is a fabulously easy way to add some character and antiqued look to new terra cotta pots. I like to use either gel wood stain or liquid wood stain. A darker color like a plantation walnut is perfect for this project.

Simply dip an old t-shirt or sponge into the wood stain (or squeeze some gel stain onto the t-shirt). Wipe the stain onto your terra cotta pot. You will need to work quickly; you do not want your edge of stain to dry. Rub the stain in and then wipe any excess off. If you are using liquid stain you can apply it to your terra cotta pots with a paintbrush.

The more coats of wood stain you apply the more antiqued your terra cotta pots will look. This is a great technique for terra cotta pots with designs imprinted on them. The stain will rest in any indentations and highlight the raised areas.

Add a beautiful fern to your terra cotta pot and you have a timeless look in the garden.

Yogurt and Moss Spores

Old terra cotta pos in the garden always have a beautiful coating of moss growing on them. Year after year I waited for my pots to get this beautiful aged look. I had no luck naturally. So, I decided to make it happen. Simply take some plain yogurt and sprinkle in some moss spores. You can buy these at a garden store. Stir lightly with a spoon. Then, use a brush to apply this mixture to your terra cotta pots. Let them sit outside in the shade for about 10 days and you should see beautiful moss beginning to grow on your terra cotta pots.

Glaze and Acrylic Paint

Now, any avid DIYer will have paint and glaze around their house. So, if you don’t want to run out and buy wood stain you can age and antique your terra cotta pots this way.

Mix 1 part brown acrylic paint with 2 parts glaze. Stir until it has combined. Use a sponge or large paintbrush to paint this glaze mixture onto your terra cotta pot. Wipe away excess with an old white t-shirt. Continue to apply layers of tinted glaze until you reach the desired aged or antiqued look on your terra cotta pot.

For some faux moss you could also mix 1 part glaze with one part hunter green paint. Dab his mixture on your terra cotta pot. Blot it gently with a rag or t-shirt. Do not wipe. Moss does not have painted lines in it. Cover with another coat of the brown glaze mixture. The touch of green will easily look like moss.

Antiqued and aged terra cotta pots are perfect for indoor or outdoor use. They also work well in almost any garden setting from formal to casual.

This is also a fun garden project the kids can help you with!


This makes informal terra cotta planters into a more substantial or formal planter mix one pat exterior black paint with one part glaze. Brush this mixture onto your terra cotta pots evenly. You want to paint around the pot, not up and down. Let dry and add your plants. This will create a warm pot with terra cotta showing through the black glaze.

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